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Number plates: Motorists demand apology from FRSC, seek refunds

Motorists in Lagos on Friday told the Federal Road Safety Commission to apologise and refund monies paid by motorists for the issuance of the new number plates.

The motorists, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria, were reacting to the judgement that the FRSC had no power to impose new number plates on motorists.

A Federal High Court in Lagos on March 26 declared that it was unconstitutional for the FRSC to impound any vehicle for not buying the new number plates.

The judgement, followed a suit by human rights lawyer, Emmanuel Ofoegbu, challenging the powers of the FRSC to issue the new number plates.

A commercial bus operator, Mr Taiwo Bamisaiye, urged the court to compel the FRSC to refund motorists who had gone through strenuous processes to acquire the number plates.

“I will like the court to follow up on the judgement to ensure that FRSC refunds those of us that have used our money to obtain the plates,” Bamisaiye said.

Another commercial bus operator, Mr Odunayo Adegboyega, said that the process of acquiring the number plates had been strenuous and as such, there was need for compensation from the FRSC.

“If the judgement is anything to go by, the FRSC should be compelled to compensate motorists for all the stress it made people to go through,” Adegboyega said.

His colleague, Mr Wole Oke, commended Ofoegbu for challenging the FRSC on behalf of Nigerian motorists.

“Now that we are saved from the FRSC ‘wahala’ let them pay us back and face their mandate of ensuring safety on the roads,’’ he said.

Mr Adejare Soladoye, who noted that the judgement would put other road traffic agents in check, said the mandate of the FRSC was not to generate revenue for government.

“There is no crime if FRSC refunds the money paid for the new number plate, just as the Federal Government ordered the Nigeria Immigration Services to refund applicants.”

Ofoegbu filed the suit on Sept. 30, 2013.

The plaintiff had sought a declaration that the threat by the respondents to impound vehicles of motorists who failed to acquire the new number plate was invalid and unconstitutional.

He, therefore, urged the court to declare as unlawful, the threat by the FRSC to arrest motorists, using the old number plates because there was no law prohibiting its use.

The applicant had also sought an order restraining the defendants from impounding vehicles or otherwise, arresting or harassing motorists who failed to acquire the new number plates.

But the FRSC had argued that the judgement did not vacate its statutory powers to design and produce new number plate but that it only lacked statutory authority to fix deadline for enforcement.

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